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Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Check out three of my favorite tasty, nutritious, and budget-friendly ideas.

Updated 12/2020

When it comes to food choices, taste and budget are still top of mind, even on festive occasions.  Here are three ideas for inspired, tasty, and better-for-you meals or snacks that are delicious for the taste buds and friendly to the wallet.

  1. Make breakfast any time. Typical breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, and oatmeal are easy to make and can be a cost effective way to fit in a balanced meal. Dairy and eggs are both nutrient-rich sources of protein (meaning they have other nutrients, too) that are super simple to make.  Plan breakfast (or brunch!) for dinner.  Make it fun to have a festive meal at home. Use your favorite large cookie cutters to shape the toast. Keep the toast “scraps” to make croutons for soup or salad another time. Or, how about a pancake served like a snowman or reindeer face?
  2. Build a bar. Nacho, potato, yogurt, chili, soup, taco, sandwich, popcorn, hot chocolate, s’mores.  All of these ideas can be served so each person can create their own dish.  This works well for the whole family, especially with picky eaters present.
  3. Start and end with festive fruits and veggies. From eye appeal to natural sweetness packed with nutrition, seasonal produce is a great way to keep menus interesting and flavorful.  Bonus? Even someone who can’t cook can make this! Fruits and veggies make great dippers for dunkers like peanut butter, fudge or caramel, and if you like savory dips? They work great with salsa, hummus, or plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with your favorite herbs and/or spices, too. Take a moment to arrange your fruits and veggies in a holiday shape, and you have easily made it holiday-ready.

What’s your favorite way to eat well on a budget?

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.